Blue Growth : Applications and properties of biochar made out of reed
Sammanfattning: The climate on earth keeps getting warmer where heat waves, eutrophication, rising sea levels, extreme weather like flooding, droughts and wildfires are an expanding problem. The focus of this bachelor thesis is to determine the potential of mitigating eutrophication and while contributing to blue growth by harvesting and make use of reeds like Phragmites australis and Arundo donax. Reeds have the ability to quickly absorb nutrients from aquatic environments and there are opportunities to use them as a feedstock for producing biochar to be potentially used in areas such as soil improvement, fodder additive and carbon sequestration. Additionally, optimal biochar properties for the observed applications gets analysed. The thesis is based on a systematic literature review and an interview with Niclas Anvret at the non-profit organisation “Race for the Baltic”. Results show that biochar produced according to parameters such as heating rate, biomass species and especially, different temperatures, results in varied characteristics that change the biochar's adsorption abilities, nutrient retention, alkalinity, stability, surface area and porosity volume. The different applications of biochar are, however, not easily determined. This is because of the fact that certain biochar properties, that are prominent in entirely different pyrolysis conditions, could both be beneficial for the same application. Additionally, the different attributes sometimes influence each other which gives rise to unclear patterns affecting use potential. To overcome these issues, more research is needed to clarify the correlations between attributes of the biochar and to determine which characteristics of biochar are best suited for each application. In terms of how large-scale harvesting of reed could affect the ecosystem is also unclear, there is not enough research regarding the question to be able to draw clear conclusions. The reasoning behind this is that there are knowledge gaps, geographical differences, different unit measuring and methodology. The potential for biochar in the coal market is high and the demand in Sweden has risen over the past couple of years. There is also interest in using biochar as a soil amendment, to make use of nutrient content as well as applying organic matter to soils to potentially achieve long-term carbon sequestration. However, the production cost of biochar out of reed is relatively expensive, and it cannot compete with coal or other fertilisers/soil amendments on the market, with feedstock management usually being the most expensive part of production. Lastly, there is currently no harvesting method that can measure the amount of reed that needs to be harvested to be able to produce biochar on a large scale.
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